University of Saskatchewan

September 19, 2014   

Pharmacy & Nutrition

Our goal in research is to discover and apply knowledge in pharmaceutical and nutritional sciences and in clinical and community practice-based areas of pharmacy and human nutrition to improve health of individuals and the delivery of health care in our respective disciplines.

Our Research Plan focuses faculty expertise, diversity, strengths and newly emerging areas into research that is highly relevant to improving health and quality of life for people of our province and elsewhere. Faculty, staff and students undertake research collaborations with colleagues in other units on campus, including the Canadian Light Source, practitioners in health regions, researchers in institutes and industry, government agencies, and scientists nationally and internationally, including through an Exchange and Collaboration agreement with Mieji Pharmaceutical University in Japan and partnership with the Centre of Epidemiological Studies in Health and Nutrition and the University of São Paulo, Brazil.

The dynamic combination our faculty researchers and collaborators provides an excellent environment for research. Please visit www.usask.ca/pharmacy-nutrition/researchprograms for more information.



Research Strengths

  • Pharmaceutical and Nutraceutical Sciences in the areas of drug and nutraceutical discovery, drug and vaccine delivery system design and development, pharmaceutical nanotechnology, pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism. Recent faculty achievements include internationally recognized discovery of new anticancer and anticonvulsant compounds and novel non-invasive protein and gene delivery systems, development of advanced pharmaceutical analytical methods and drug metabolism research. The faculty members in this area are pioneering work in pharmaceutical nanotechnology, drug discovery, biomolecular modeling and knowledge/ technology transfer.
    • The Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Group is a new, formalized group focusing research on drug discovery, drug delivery, pharmacokinetics and metabolism. The Group has attracted 21 members from Medicine, Chemistry, the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization and the Canadian Light Source.
    • Neurosciences is the research focus of faculty members involved in the pharmaceutical and nutritional aspects of neurosciences. Their significant achievements are recognized in the areas of the effects of nutrients on neural functions and the genetic basis of embryonic neural development. They are also making strong contributions to the Neural Systems and Plasticity Research Group on campus.

  • Primary/Ambulatory Care and Community Research focuses on pharmaceutical aspects of patient care and the nutritional well being of people. Faculty working in these areas are involved in research in pharmacoepidemiology, health services and policy development, health economics, patient behaviour and community nutrition. The achievements of these researchers are highly recognized at the national level and they are developing into a formal research group.
  • Nutritional, Lifestyle and Community Research involves clinical nutrition, obesity, osteoporosis and aging-related nutritional science. The significant collaborative efforts of the faculty researchers in this group are evident from their participation in multidisciplinary research efforts nationally and internationally.

Special Features of Research in Pharmacy and Nutrition

  • Strong faculty research programs and the unique distinction of being home to both Pharmacy and Nutrition.

  • Support for the research enterprise provided by graduate and undergraduate students, Postdoctoral Fellows, research technicians, administrative, clerical and technical research staff, Research Officer, Development Officer, Associate, Adjunct Professors and Clinical Assistant Professors.
  • Key collaborations on campus with colleagues in the full range of health sciences, physical sciences, agriculture, education and commerce. Pharmacy and Nutrition faculty are actively involved in campus biomedical research groups, including Neural Systems and Plasticity, Aging, Obesity and Cardiovascular areas. They work with scientists in the Toxicology Research Centre, Agricultural Biotechnology Research Centre, Veterinary Infectious Diseases Organization and the Cameco MS Neuroscience Research Centre.
  • Partnerships with health professionals and health care facilities, such as the Saskatoon and Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region hospitals, public health services, Cancer Centres plus other health regions, Tribal Councils and agencies throughout the province.
  • Direct links with with PharmaDerm Laboratories, Ltd. and PharmaLytics, Inc., a pharmaceutical research company and a research institute, which College faculty were instrumental in initiating.
  • Ventures with other industrial partners who provide financial assistance in terms of project development, industrial graduate and post-doctoral stipends and summer student research support.
  • Access to Innovation Place, one of the most successful research parks in North America located on the U of S campus, with over 100 organizations in industries such as agriculture, computing and telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, novel foods and environmental sciences.
  • Use of the Canadian Light Source synchrotron, a national resource for researchers and the largest scientific research project in Canada, which provides unprecedented opportunities for scientific discovery in fields such as pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.
  • National and international collaborations as members of Centres of Excellence or through informal working groups. The College has an Exchange and Exchange and Collaboration Agreement with Meiji Pharmaceutical University in Japan and a partnership with the Center of Epidemiological Studies in Health and Nutrition in Brazil.

Research Funding

College faculty generate significant resources to maintain their high quality research programs. In addition, Pharmacy and Nutrition faculty are co-investigators with colleagues in Medicine, Kinesiology, Veterinary Medicine, Education and Commerce, as well as health regions and industry. It is noteworthy that Pharmacy and Nutrition faculty are supported by grants from all three national research granting council, as well as provincial agencies and disease foundations, including:

  • Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
  • Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF)
  • Canadian Foundation for Innovation Fund (CFI)
  • Agri-Food Innovation Fund (AFIF)
  • Cameco MS Neuroscience Research Centre
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation
  • Cancer Research Society
  • Saskatchewan Pulse Growers
  • College of Pharmacy and Nutrition Research Trust, Irwin Trust, Rexall Trust and United Pharmacists Research Fund

The College is involved in ongoing fundraising efforts to increase the number and value of internal research awards to enable faculty to further enhance their research initiatives.

Research Facilities

The College of Pharmacy and Nutrition is located on four floors of the west section of the Thorvaldson Building and includes a Computer Learning and Resources Centre, undergraduate teaching and lab facilities including the state-of-the-art Patient-Focused Professional Skills Facility, Nutrition Resources and Volunteer Centre, EduLab and Saskatchewan Drug Information Service.

The College has well-equipped research laboratories. In addition, a Core Equipment Facility and Common Tissue Culture Facility have been established to enhance and increase efficiencies with respect to research equipment and techniques. The College is also engaged in laying the path for a Biomolecular Modeling Reality Supercomputing Centre.

Graduate Programs Support Research

The College has an active graduate program, offering thesis-based M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs in Pharmacy and in Nutrition. Graduate students contribute enormously to the research enterprise. For more information, please visit www.usask.ca/pharmacy-nutrition/gradprograms.

  • Graduate Studies in Pharmacy include studies on pharmaceutics/drug and vaccine delivery; medicinal/pharmaceutical chemistry; bio- and nanotechnology/molecular biology; pharmacokinetics; clinical pharmacy; pharmacy education; pharmacoeconomics and pharmacoepidemiology; and toxicology.
  • Graduate Studies in Nutrition include clinical nutrition, dietary assessment, nutritional biochemistry, nutrition services administration, community nutrition and nutrition education.
  • Current graduate students are supported by prestigious national awards from CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC, the Dean’s Scholarship program (College of Graduate Studies and Research) and College scholarship programs. At 2005 Spring Convocation, Nutrition PhD graduate Julia Ewaschuk received the Governor-General’s Gold Medal as the University’s most outstanding student receiving a graduate degree at either Fall 2004 or Spring 2005 Convocation.

    Undergraduate Contributions to Research

    Each summer, the College employs outstanding summer research students, funded through programs from CIHR Health Professional Student Research Program, CIHR/Rx&D, NSERC, Apotex, Merck-Frosst, faculty research grants and USTEP (the U of S Summer Student Employment Program that receives federal, provincial and University funding to subsidize the hiring of summer students by U of S faculty and staff).

    Recent examples of summer research projects include work on flaxseed lignan derivatives and effects on serum and hepatic cholesterol levels, nutrition education in health science disciplines, standards of practice for patient counseling, kinetics of pentachloralphenol hydroxide, novel gene delivery and drug delivery systems, flavonoids as protectors from ascorbate-induced oxidative stress, and D-Lactic acidosis.